Social media marketing is a topic that always attracts discussion. To some, it is a woefully ineffective way to create anything measurable. To others, it is one of the most profitable, simple systems for creating highly targeted, 100% traffic. With such a wide divide in opinion, it is important that you base your social media spending (of time, of course) on campaigns that actually work.
But how can you test your social media campaign for effectiveness? While it is difficult to track social media on the level of PPC, or even an SEO campaign, it is still very possible. Using some simple tools, innovative tracking metrics, and long-term branding power, you can view just how effective your social media marketing efforts are.
For short-term social media marketers, the most important thing to monitor is the pure ROI (return on investment) that your social media efforts bring. Long-term social media marketing gives you the options of real branding and creating a two-way presence; in the short-term it is best to focus on pure returns.
Start by tracking using PPC monitoring software such as Tracking202. While this software was designed to measure the effectiveness of PPC campaigns, routing your social media traffic still gives you a good idea of which articles, links, and posts are worthwhile, and which are not. By measuring the sheer profit of each different tracking link, you can determine which social media platform is generating the best return for you.
For direct sales through social media, it is best to generate some long-term relationships and real marketing buzz. Social media is not a great platform for the traditional “buy now!” direct marketing message — it is skimmed over or ignored — but a dedicated effort towards a sale can yield results. Monitor by measuring the effectiveness of individual actions. For example, a single tweet might bring in more money than a lengthy PPC campaign; scale what works and eliminate anything that is ineffective.
If there is one area in which social media excels, it is long-term branding. A common complaint against marketers is that their businesses simply do not bring in enough interest on social media platforms, and are crushed by the major brands. This is because social media is built on relationships. People, whether they see it or not, have indirect relationships with major brands such as Nike and Apple. From long-term exposure to their advertising, they become familiar with their brands and are more likely to embrace them in the online world.
For marketers, this means that you need to focus on generating a long-term connection. Cut the hard sell and focus on helping your potential customers. While branding, especially in an online world, is incredibly hard to measure, the long-term effects of it can be gigantic and incredibly lucrative.
No matter what type of business you operate, social media can help you expand your sales and increase revenue. However, the trade-off comes in terms of time. With a measurable, metrics-driven social media presence, it is easy to see what works and what does not. Invest in real social media results and you could see a wave of 100% free, ultra-targeted traffic for your online business.